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Rez Infinite's surprise PC port tested

How well does Rez classic and the new Area X run across a range of hardware?

By John Linneman. 9/08/2017

Since its release almost 16 years ago, Rez has not only stood the test of time but there's a good argument that it has actually improved with age. Through a combination of perfectly timed sound and rich visual design, Rez delivers an experience that's difficult to forget - and now, Rez Infinite is available on PC, in both standard form and with full VR support for both Vive and Oculus Rift.

At its core, Rez Infinite is comprised of two unique pieces: the original Rez with its enhanced visuals and Area X, a new stage built using Unreal Engine 4. This new level isn't especially lengthy but it's a stunning experience, offering a tasty morsel of what a proper sequel to the original game might look like.

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As PC ports go, Rez Infinite checks most of the boxes: there's great support for keyboard, mouse, and gamepad along with arbitrary resolution support. Resolution scaling is available up to 250 per cent, MSAA is included for Rez Classic - and it all runs very smoothly even on relatively meagre hardware. Let's put it this way, on an old i5 3570K paired with a GTX 970, the game runs at full 4K with MSAA disabled (adding it causes some frame drops). AMD's Radeon R9 290X achieves the same feat, with the added bonus of 4x MSAA, bringing into line with the presentation seen on PS4 Pro.

This is a solid foundation for scalability across a range of hardware, depending on the resolution you choose. GTX 1080 Ti and higher (we tested on a Titan Xp) is able to deliver full 16K resolution with 2x MSAA. Another key takeaway here is that despite its age, Rez holds up very well and scales perfectly to high resolutions. Very high resolutions.

However, one issue we ran into with the PC conversion involves support for proper full-screen. Essentially, the game is locked into a double buffer v-sync configuration. Disabling v-sync has no effect and desktop notifications continue to appear during gameplay, suggesting we're locked into borderless full-screen here, regardless of your chosen settings.

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Nevertheless, there are some nice additional goodies here. There are three texture settings, the highest of which features art with a resolution eight times that of the original game and this, in turn, is even sharper than the PS4 version. Texture filtering is also adjustable, though with the rather low requirements here, it should be possible to leave this cranked up.

The bottom line? Just about any gaming PC should be able to handle Rez classic well - but the new Unreal Engine 4-powered Area X sees system requirements rise significantly. The presentation is focused entirely on particle effects, swirling pixels dancing across a pitch-black canvas in time to the music, while players are finally offered a chance to break free from the on-rails confines of the original. It's a remarkable experience that is a sight to behold.

This more demanding portion of the package pushes GTX 970-level hardware pretty hard and can exhibit slowdown in 4K mode. The solution, of course, is to use the resolution scale setting to dial things back just a touch which improves things quickly. We settled on 70 per cent scale here, effectively an upscaled 2688x1512. Again, the old R9 290X fared better and 80 per cent scaling worked fine. GTX 1080 Ti-class hardware will power you to full 4K.

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